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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

When Kṛṣṇa accepts the offering?


PATRAṀ PUṢPAṀ PHALAṀ TOYAṀ YO ME BHAKTYĀ PRAYACCHATI
TAD AHAṀ BHAKTYUPAHṚTAM AŚNĀMI PRAYATĀTMANAḤ


(Bhagavad Gītā 9.26)

“Whoever offers Me with love a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, if it is offered with devotion by a pure soul, I will eat it.”

The services of cooking and serving prasāda are for the oldest and most mature devotees, not for the youngest and least mature devotees, because they are not yet pure enough, either physically or spiritually. The purity of the donor, the server, the cook – everything goes into the consciousness of the eater. The older devotees may be too proud or too lazy to serve or cook, or may consider it ‘menial service’, but it isn’t. Śrīdhara Svāmī comments on Bhagavad Gītā 9.26 :

prayatātmanaḥ śuddha-cittasya niṣkāma-bhaktasya tat-patra-puṣpādikaṁ bhaktyā tena upahṛtaṁ samarpitam aham aśnāmi

(Kṛṣṇa says) “The word prayatātmanaḥ means a devotee who is pure-hearted and free from desires. What is offered by him I will eat.”

Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments on this verse:

kiṁ ca mad-bhaktasyāpy apavitra-śarīratve sati nāśnāmīty āha prayatātmanaḥ śuddha-śarīrasyeti rajaḥsvalādayo vyavṛttaḥ 

(Kṛṣṇa says) “I will not eat even from My devotees if their bodies are impure. Prayatātmanaḥ means with a pure body, not polluted by menstruation and so.” Too often western devotees cook for their deities with blue jeans on, that they may have worn while riding in buses or trains or while passing stool. Before cooking and offering one should shower and put on special clean clothing. In the Caitanya Caritāmṛta (Antya 6) it is mentioned that Raghunātha dās Gosvāmī decided to stop inviting Mahāprabhu for prasāda because the money that bought the prasāda came from mixed Vaiṣṇavas (his parents). Even that was considered a pollution, let alone the servers. In India the topmost devotees serve prasāda, not the newcomers, let alone polluted guests. The word prayata in the Gītā-verse means:

- piously disposed , intent on devotion , well prepared for a solemn rite, ritually pure (also applied to a vessel and a place) , selfsubdued , dutiful , careful , prudent
- a holy or pious person
- purity , holiness

(Monier Monier Williams Sanskrit dictionary)

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